Friday, July 10, 1998, at approximately 11:30 p.m., an unborn baby died shortly before his birth. The death of this child was apparently not just another tragedy, but an incident which at best could have been prevented and at worst may have actually been precipitated by KMC staff and doctors.
Renee, the baby's mother, had courageously decided to carry her child to term in spite of repeated demands by her social worker and doctor that she should abort the baby because of a genetic defect. Throughout her pregnancy, Renee was encouraged to persevere by Debbie Williams and Terri Palmquist of LifeSavers Ministries.
Renee had gone to KMC Thursday morning for a routine checkup. Her due date was originally July 4; however, at the checkup the date was adjusted to July 18 due to the size of the baby. Renee's blood pressure was high, so the nurse told her that she should be checked into the hospital to have her labor induced. Renee felt that her body was not ready to deliver the baby, because her cervix had not dilated or effaced yet, so she went home.
The nurse called a social worker, who brought deputies to Renee's home to forcibly bring her back to the hospital. The social worker also tried to use this incident as an excuse to remove Renee's three year old son from her home, but Renee successfully hid her son at a friend's home.
Renee asked Terri and Debbie to be present throughout her labor and delivery, but KMC nurses refused Renee's wishes (while admitting that legally they could not keep them out). Renee even provided her request in writing to the nurses. Terri and Debbie, along with Sammy, the child's father, witnessed a strong heartbeat on the fetal monitor, but shortly after the nurses administered a medication to Renee, the baby's heartbeat began to slow down. By 11:30 pm, the baby's heartbeat had stopped.
The baby was delivered without the presence of his father Sammy or any of Renee's friends (in spite of Renee's wishes). The nurses apparently rushed the delivery, while telling Sammy and Renee's friends that Renee was asleep, in order to prevent anyone from seeing the baby. After delivery, the baby's body was whisked away to an unknown room. Sammy did catch a glimpse of the baby, and reported that he appeared to be a beautiful baby boy. The doctor never attempted to save the child's life, but she told Terri "if it had been a good baby, I would have done an emergency cesarean."
When Terri and Debbie continued to try to see Renee and the baby, the hospital security staff called the Sheriff's Department. At about 4:30 am, deputies forcibly removed Terri and Debbie from KMC, telling them that if they returned they would be arrested for trespassing. However, the officers refused to state any legal reason for removing them from the hospital. Interestingly, the deputies and security officers explained their actions by stating that anti-abortion protests may not be conducted at the hospital.
Terri had taken a photograph in the hospital, which included Linda, a nurse who had been the primary agent in this incident. Security officers and deputies attempted to confiscate the film from Terri, but she refused to provide it.
"We weren't at KMC to protest abortion, we were there to comfort our friend," said Terri Palmquist of LifeSavers Ministries. "But these circumstances make me wonder if the death of this child was just a tragic result of negligence, or a deliberate forced abortion of a 'defective' child."
Courtesy of VoiceForLife@Compuserve.com; Used with permission.
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